Vibia illuminates a 1904 Barcelona building
Designers select Vibia lighting for an art gallery that has been converted into an office
Situated in the modernist heart of Barcelona along the Rambla de Catalunya, a former art gallery in a 1904 building was transformed into an elegant office space for an economist. It was a collaboration between the architects Lupe Alvarez (Tac Arquitectes) and Mateu Subirà, interior designer Carlota Portavella, lighting studio Anoche, and restoration expert Tere Hernandez. The renovation reimagined the existing space — a prosaic open-floor plan painted white, with few architectural features. The goal? A mix of old and new to reveal the historical provenance and traditional features of the interior.
To bring out its character, the team lined the central corridor with vertical wooden slats made of rich walnut. The carpentry directs the eye down the hall, its linear geometry creating an expressive, mesmerising rhythm and rich texture. Echoing this motif, a wooden-slat ceiling and cabinets were added to several offices. An early excavation uncovered multiple frescoes beneath a section of wallpaper. They had been badly damaged over the years, but painstaking work by Hernandez restored them. Their presence breaks up the white space, infusing it with warm, earthy tones, and lending it compelling artisanal character and a timeless look.
Located on the mezzanine floor of the building, the interior lacked abundant natural light. For that, the team selected several Vibia fixtures to produce diffuse, warm light throughout. In the entry area, a sleek white desk is brightened by Diego Fortunato’s Mayfair table lamp. An update on a 19th-century classic, the LED fixture’s minimalist sensibility blends past and present in one silhouette, underscoring the designers’ objectives.
Ichiro Iwasaki’s LED-powered Pin table lamp offers a streamlined accent in several pared-down offices. Its lean lines pair with a bold circular base and diminutive dome shade in a contemporary take on the timeless reading lamp. Crafted of metal, it offers a striking textural counterpoint to the rich wooden desk and ceiling.
In a circular meeting room ringed by original stained glass, the team chose the Palma pendant by Antoni Arola. Inspired by ancient hanging gardens, the fixture features an organic globe shape that accommodates greenery along its vertical axis. Hanging from a nearly invisible cable, it evokes the look of a luminous floating garden and reinforces the floral motif of the